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‘Rody tops Noy gains in 1st 100 days’

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Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardOct 3rd, 2016

24 NBA questions before 17-18 tips off

By David Aldridge, TNT analyst The season starts on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). You’ve been waiting patiently all summer with your questions. Fire away.     1. So … what’s the point of playing this season? The Golden State Warriors are still the prohibitive favorites to repeat this season, next season and into the foreseeable future. But it was good to see a good chunk of the Western Conference -- the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets, to name three teams -- not fold before the first card is dealt. That fact alone is incredibly important. The Warriors are still the best team in the West, without question. But if teams don’t even try to get better, or spend money to compete, the whole rationale for playing fades away. The Thunder could have rode Russell Westbrook alone to another first-round playoff loss, watched him walk out the door in free agency next summer and thrown up its hands, plead ‘woe is us and all small-market teams,’ and enjoyed a luxury tax-free life for the next few years. The Rockets could have just kept selling tickets to fans to watch James Harden and his pals shoot 50 threes a game for the next two or three years. It’s an appealing brand of basketball. Denver could have just kept building through the Draft, climbing a few more wins here or there for a while, and snuck into the eighth seed, choosing to be comfortable rather than bold. But they didn’t. They’ve called and raised. In all likelihood, it won’t be enough to beat Golden State. But those teams can sleep well at night. They’re not cheating their players, or fans. 2. So, is OKC now a legit threat to the Warriors? The short answer: no. But it’s closer. Carmelo Anthony will be as good a third option as anyone in the league has, though; he will eat regularly on the weak side as defenses scramble to handle Westbrook-Paul George pick and rolls; a quick seal and ‘Melo will be off to the races. If coach Billy Donovan goes small ball with Patrick Patterson at the five, there will be many nights when OKC drops a 130 spot. Yes, the Thunder’s defense is going to be an issue; while Enes Kanter was a sieve off the bench, he was coming off the bench, playing behind Steven Adams. Anthony will be starting and playing big minutes, many at the four. But it won’t matter most nights when the Thunder is up 20 to start the fourth quarter, after 36 minutes of Westbrook sorties, George 3-pointers and transition dunks, and Carmelo post-ups and spot-ups (he shot 44.8 percent last season on catch and shoot shots. Among forwards who played 30 or more minutes last season, per NBA.com/Stats, only Kevin Durant, Otto Porter and Kawhi Leonard shot better). The Thunder can guard you with George, Andre Roberson and Adams and they can outscore you with Westbrook and George and ‘Melo. They have a solid bench (Patterson, Ray Felton, Jerami Grant, Alex Abrines) and Westbrook won’t be physically spent by the end of the 2018 playoffs. Wait; what am I saying? Of course he’ll be spent. But he’ll also be playing way deeper into May. 3. Did not getting Anthony hurt Houston or nah? The Rockets -- okay, Chris Paul -- wanted this done bad. It won’t hurt Houston in the regular season, when Paul and James Harden will dominate. And while Harden didn’t like Kevin McHale’s critique of his leadership, Mac was spot on. That doesn’t make “The Beard” a bad guy or teammate -- people gravitate to their comfortable roles in life, and CP3 is a natural-born leader. Harden will, one thinks, be more comfortable with slightly less light on him. They’ll do fine playing together and off one another. But the shadow of the Rockets’ implosion from deep -- 29 of 88 on three-pointers the last two games against the Spurs in their Western Conference semifinals series -- still hangs over them. Ryan Anderson was negated in the postseason. There’s a reason CP3 pushed for ‘Melo so hard. The Rockets will need unexpected consistent offense from a P.J. Tucker or Luc Mbah a Moute in May if they have any hopes of playing in June. 4. Can we just start the Cleveland-Boston East finals now? Maybe Toronto, with C.J. Miles shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers to complement Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will break up what seems inevitable. Maybe Washington, with its super-solid starting five intact, now has the mental toughness to bust past the second round, where it’s been beached three of the last four postseasons. But it doesn’t feel like that. Boston, ultimately, should be a lot better this season than last. It will take a while for coach Brad Stevens to figure out the rotation and whether Jaylen Brown can really stick at the two, but ultimately, the Celtics have two dynamic playmakers/scorers in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, and with Al Horford providing the glue at both ends, they’re going to be a load by the end of the season. And while Cleveland will have to wait a while for Isaiah Thomas, the Cavs have more than enough firepower until Thomas can make his debut. Whatever Dwyane Wade has left will be accentuated playing with James, and Kevin Love (holy moly, is he underrated) will feast drawing slower, bigger centers out to him on the perimeter. J.R. Smith doesn’t like losing his starting job to Wade, and he should be ticked. But he nonetheless will help Cleveland’s bench, which will be incredibly difficult in its own right with Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver complementing Smith. And that’s before Thomas returns, which will put Derrick Rose on that second unit. There won’t be any rest for defenses who’ll then have to contend with a rested James, et al, coming back. It says here that not only will the Cavs not miss Irving offensively, they could be even more diverse and difficult to guard this season. Not to mention that James is supremely motivated to make an eighth straight Finals. 5. Could Curry break his record of 402 3-pointers in a season? At first glance, with Durant and Klay and Draymond (and, now, Nick Young) all needing to get fed as well, it would seem impossible for Curry to best the mark he set two years ago, on the 73-9 regular season team. But consider: coach Steve Kerr thinks a new guy always blossoms in his second year with the Warriors, which means Durant should be even more lethal offensively this year, as the Warriors’ offense reaches an even higher level of efficiency. And the way they move the ball, it’s not a stretch to think that with defenses tripping over themselves to get to Durant, Curry could get into one of those ridiculous grooves that could leave him within striking distance of 402 by the end of the season. 6. Could the last one in the Eastern Conference turn out the lights? The New York Knicks were hardly a power in the East before trading Anthony, but his departure creates one more team that will struggle to win 35 games this season. With the paucity of talent there should be at least four 50-win teams in the East -- Cleveland, Boston, Toronto and Washington -- with the Milwaukee Bucks knocking on the door. 7. Who’s going to regret their offseason? The Bucks were fine off the court -- their new arena is already more than halfway constructed and looks like it’s going to be a gem -- although the surrounding mall that is supposed to be part of the complex is not going up as quickly. But the Bucks didn’t address their bigs-heavy roster and move some of the surplus -- how can coach Jason Kidd keep all of Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker and John Henson happy with Thon Maker scarfing up more and more frontcourt minutes? -- for the shooting Milwaukee still needs. The East is so open, and Milwaukee is so close to breaking through into elite status with Giannis Antetokounmpo an elite performer. 8. Rudy Gay -- sneaky good pickup? Gay says he’s cool starting or coming off the bench for the Spurs, but he’d best as San Antonio’s sixth man, at least to start things. Bringing Pau Gasol off the bench didn’t work so well, so if he’s starting at center, coach Gregg Popovich can’t go small ball with “Cousin” LaMarcus Aldridge at the five and Gay at the four alongside Kawhi Leonard. (Current state of Spurs fans’ cuticles here and here as they consider a season with an extended Klaw absence if this quad injury doesn’t improve soon.) The Spurs could have some serious firepower in reserve if Gay and Patty Mills come off the bench, but Mills or Dejounte Murray will likely have to start at the point until Tony Parker comes back. 9. Speaking of Popovich … Should he and Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy stick to sports? No. 10. Who’s gonna be Kia Rookie of the Year? I say Markelle Fultz. What, you thought I was gonna pick against a DeMatha Catholic man? (Actual unretouched photo of me as a sophomore at the most successful high school in the history of the United States may or may not be here). Playing off of Joel Embiid, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington … it’s hard to see Fultz not looking really good when he should have all kinds of room to operate. Lonzo Ball will put up bigger numbers, and Tatum will be on a better team. But Boston was good last year, and Jayson Tatum will likely not play as much as the others. The Sixers are poised for a big jump up in the standings, and that’s always a narrative that voters like and get behind -- which is what will hurt Dennis Smith Jr.'s chances in Dallas. 11. What does Dwyane Wade really have left? Now that the inevitable buyout of Wade’s $24 million deal by the Bulls has led to the equally inevitable trek to Cleveland to play with James, can the 35-year-old Wade still be a significant contributor on a title contender? Given the general dysfunction in Chicago last season, you can dismiss most of the good and bad numbers Wade put up, with two exceptions: he still averaged almost five free throw attempts per game, and he shot 31 percent on 3-pointers -- not great, but more than double his anemic 15.9 percent behind the arc in 2015-16, his last with the Miami Heat. Wade obviously knows the cheat code for how to most effectively play off of James, so he’ll use the regular season to learn his teammates and be ready for the playoffs. But can Wade hold up over seven games defensively if he has to chase, say, Bradley Beal around, or try to deny DeRozan his preferred mid-range spots, and still be productive offensively? 12. Back to the Sixers -- how good will they be? My guess is they’ll pretty good in the 60 or so games I anticipate Embiid will play this season -- I’m assuming several designated off days for him during the season, not another injury. The mix of young talent (Fultz, Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Covington) and crafty vets (Redick, Amir Johnson) should mesh to make the 76ers a very tough team to defend. But Philly has to resolve the Jahlil Okafor situation, and in fairness to him, give him a fresh start somewhere else with a trade as soon as possible. If I were a good team that would be hard-pressed to add a free agent any time soon and feels a player short of true contention -- I’m looking at you, Memphis Grizzlies and Wizards -- I’d work hard to get the new, slimmed-down Okafor on my squad while he’s still on his rookie contract and make him the focal point of a kick-ass second unit. 13. Should we feel some kind of way about the Trail Blazers? I’m picking up what you’re putting down. A full season of the “Bosnian Beast” in the middle, it says here, will vault Portland into the top four in the West. Note I said “full season.” That means Jusuf Nurkic has to give coach Terry Stotts between 65-70 starts for the above premonition to be, as they say in the legal world, actionable. If so, Nurkic’s underrated scoring and passing out of the post will only make Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum that much more deadly out front, along with improving Portland’s defense. Per Basketball-Reference.com, the Blazers were 11.6 points per game better than the opposition with those three on the floor together and a +5 when their regular five-man lineup with Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu joined the guards and Nurkic. And that’s pronounced, “Noor-kitch,” accent on Noor. 13. A little movie break ... Kevin Costner’s accent in “Robin Hood” -- worst ever, right? Yes, but Natalie Wood’s in “West Side Story” was painful, too. 14. Many have written the post-CP3 Clippers off. Should they? The Clippers are my darkhorse this season -- if they do the right thing and go small more often. They’re doing it more in practice so far than in games because Danilo Gallinari is working through a foot injury, but Blake Griffin at the five and Gallinari at the four could be spicy during the regular season. That would mean Sam Dekker and/or Wes Johnson would have to become credible and dependable at the three, allowing coach Doc Rivers to play a Pat Beverly-Milos Teodosic backcourt more often, which will just be fun. This would, of course, mean less DeAndre Jordan, and … that may not be the worst thing. Nothing against DJ, who is the best defensive big in the league, bar none. Unfortunately, the NBA isn’t about defense any more -- at least not in the traditional sense. Even someone like Jordan who doesn’t just block shots, but also helps snuff out opposing pick and rolls, becomes less valued by the league’s advanced stats crowd if he doesn’t contribute more offensively. The three has gone a long way to tyrannizing the defense-dominant big man out of the game. (Zach Lowe recommends the Wizards try to get Jordan via trade, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard that name mentioned in connection with Washington, the idea being the only chance the Wizards have of beating Cleveland or Boston is to slow them down enough defensively that Wall-Beal-Porter can try and keep up offensively. Washington is definitely a load when Wall gets locked in on D and creates turnovers, and the idea of Jordan inhaling lobs from Wall is enticing to think about. But the Wizards are not -- not -- going to take on a fourth big contract, and Jordan’s surely going to opt out after this season; he’s rightly expecting a massive payday in 2018, and the Clippers certainly now have motive and means to retain him.) Anyway, some Lou Williams, Austin Rivers and/or Teodosic and Willie Reed off the bench isn’t bad, either. 15. Could Kyle Kuzma be the best rookie on the Lakers this season? Don’t @me, LaVar. Kuzma has followed up a very strong Vegas Summer League with high notes in preseason, averaging better than 19 points per game for the Lakers. He’s been dazzling at times, displaying in-between skills that intrigue, and showing why so many teams were trying to trade back into the first round to get the Utah forward before L.A. snagged him with its second and much less heralded first-round pick last June. And there will be minutes available at the four this season. So far, Kuzma has displayed unusual strength for a rookie and confidence in his ability to score. Of course, he’s inexperienced, and like all rookies, has to differentiate between an open shot and a good shot. The other, more famous first-rounder, Lonzo Ball, will almost certainly be the better all-around player in time. For this year, though … hmmm. 16. What does a Hawks fan have to look forward to this season? Honestly, not much. But they’ll always be well-coached and get better. I’d pick one of the young players, like rookie John Collins or second-year small forward Taurean Prince, and concentrate on them during the season. See what they do with their minutes on the floor, and watch how they gradually expand their games at both ends. Seeing a young guy get better as he gains experience and accepts coaching is one of the great joys of watching the NBA every night. 17. Orlando? What gives there? The team’s new braintrust of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond will need some time to fix the roster -- a mélange of athletic wings that have trouble defending and guards that have trouble shooting. The former is addressed somewhat with the signing of Jonathon Simmons from San Antonio, but I don’t see a solution to the latter with any of the existing backcourt contributors. Unless coach Frank Vogel figures out some way to get more turnovers/runouts from his group, they just can’t get in transition enough for their length and legs to make a difference. 18. New Orleans? What gives there? The short answer is, I have no idea. All of NBA Earth has DeMarcus Cousins out of there one way or another (he’s an unrestricted free agent in ’18 and wants to be on a contender/the Pelicans will never pay him what he wants and will have to trade him by the deadline/no way he and Anthony Davis fit together/Wall agitates for a reunion with his former Kentucky big man in D.C./your departure theory here) by this time next year, but we’ll see what coach Alvin Gentry has come up with for “Boogie” and “the Brow” after a summer to think it over. Rajon Rondo being out hurts their depth, but I have to be honest -- I don’t see how he and Jrue Holiday can possibly work together in a backcourt, and Holiday’s the guy the Pelicans just gave $125 million to, so he should probably have the ball in his hands every night, shouldn’t he? I like Ian Clark and Frank Jackson down there, but that untethered three spot burns a hole in the New Orleans sun. Well, at any rate, should be more fun than watching reruns of My Life on the D-List. 19. Favorite D-List Muppet? Beaker. 20. LeBron is leaving Cleveland again after this season, isn’t he? Everything points to yes, and a relocation to Los Angeles to play with the Lakers or Clippers next year – except … what if the Cavs win it all again this year? That’s not an impossible scenario -- in fact, it’s a pretty simple one to lay out: Cavs run roughshod through the Eastern Conference in the playoffs again, get through a good but hardly great Boston team in the conference Finals and set up a fourth straight encounter with Golden State. It’s easy now to say the Warriors dominated the Cavs in last season’s Finals -- but only if you ignore the fact that Cleveland led by six with just more than three minutes remaining in Game 3, only to see the Warriors score the game’s last 11 points to take a 3-0 lead instead of 2-1. And given that Cleveland vaporized the Warriors in Game 4, a 2-2 series would have meant the Cavs just needed to win once in Oracle -- which they’d done twice in the 2016 Finals -- to have a real shot at repeating. The point is, the difference between the teams isn’t as big as Draymond Green would have you believe; the Cavs have no fear of the Warriors, and Jae Crowder gives coach Tyronn Lue a viable on-ball defender for Kevin Durant, leaving LeBron free to play off of Green. And: that unprotected Nets pick, whether one or three or five or seven, is Cleveland’s best recruiting tool. LeBron knows everyone in college basketball and he can literally pick whoever he’d like to finish his career with in Cleveland before handing over the reins. I’m not saying he’s definitely staying, either -- only that his departure isn’t the lead pipe cinch some would have you believe. The season to come will have a lot to do with his next decision. 21. So, how will the playoffs go this season? Eastern Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia Western Conference (seeds No. 1-8): Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis, Utah, Minnesota Eastern Conference semifinalists: Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Milwaukee Western Conference semifinalists: Golden State, Houston, OKC, San Antonio Eastern Conference finals: Cleveland over Boston Western Conference finals: Golden State over OKC (you heard me) NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland (in seven games) 22. Tell me something crazy that’s going to happen this season that no one’s predicting! Giannis Antetokounmpo. NBA MVP, 2017-18. 23. Are you high? No, ma’am. 24. So, why 24 questions? As always, we start the season with 24 questions (or predictions, or issues, whatever) in honor of Danny Biasone, the late owner of the Syracuse Nationals, whose discovery in 1954 helped save the league. At that time, the NBA was in the midst of a literal slowdown, in large part by teams that were desperate to figure out some kind of way to stay competitive with George Mikan, the league’s first superstar big man, and his team, the Minneapolis Lakers. Teams would hold the ball for minutes at a time without shooting in an effort to shorten the game and give them a chance to beat Minneapolis late. But the end result was boring -- very boring -- basketball. At the owners’ meetings that year, Biasone came up with an idea. NBA games were 48 minutes long. Biasone figured out that in a normal game, one not waylaid by the slowdown tactics, about 120 shots -- 60 per team -- were taken. So, why not just divide the number of minutes in every game -- 2,880 -- by the number of shots in an average game -- 120 -- to come up with some kind of a time limit in which a team had to shoot. And thus, the 24-second shot clock (2,800/120) was born. With the implementation of the shot clock in the 1954-55 season, scoring went way up, as did the quality of play. Teams were now running up and down the floor in order to try and beat the shot clock, complementing the “fast break” game that many colleges had played for years. But the new style in the pros was immensely popular with fans. And it still is. Plus, there’s just something iconic about that clock counting down every 24 seconds. It’s unique to the NBA. Thus, we ask 24 questions, in honor of the guy who owned a bowling alley as well as the Nationals for much of his adult life, and probably enjoyed the bowling more. Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 17th, 2017

Jordan s weight reaches farther than court in NC

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com CHARLOTTE -- Unlike Mark Cuban and James Dolan, the host of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game was voted in 14 times to participate and played in 13. Quite different from Micky Arison and Glen Taylor, the team owner whose arena and city will be the center of All-Star 2019 averaged 20.2 points in those 13 All-Star appearances, was named MVP three times and posted the first triple-double in the game’s history (1997). And not at all like Steve Ballmer and Joe Lacob, the guy most often credited with making Charlotte All-Star worthy this weekend ignited the annual Slam Dunk Contest with his takeoff from the foul line in 1988. He also regularly irritated former NBA commissioner David Stern into a series of fines for golfing when he should have been sitting through mandatory Friday media sessions. With a level of celebrity as arguably the game’s greatest player ever, morphed now into an off-radar role as owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan remains as famous, as popular and as successful as any or all the active All-Star participants who’ll cavort at the Spectrum Center in the city’s Uptown business district. Ain’t no other NBA owner who can say that. “You think about all these wealthy, successful owners in our league,” said Hornets president Fred Whitfield, “no one knew who any of them were, really, until they bought their team. Everybody in the world knew who Michael Jordan was before he bought his team.” Jordan’s place in the All-Star galaxy in the coming days is reflective of his unique position among those who oversee the NBA’s 29 other franchises. His impact on the team, on its fans, on their city and on the state in returning to his native North Carolina -- he grew up in coastal Wilmington before attending college in Chapel Hill -- to anchor and lend stability to the Hornets will be on full display, even if he’s hard to spot this weekend. It’s all a reminder, too, of the old movie line from a remarkably blessed character, wondering “What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?” Most don’t dare to imagine playing in an All-Star Game, never mind hosting one as the owner of the local team. “No,” Jordan told some Charlotte reporters Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), coming forward for one of his few appearances of the week. “As a kid growing up here in North Carolina, the first thing [was] playing basketball. And then things evolved from there -- from the University of North Carolina to Chicago. Obviously you know the history from that. “[The] opportunity to represent North Carolina in an All-Star Game from a different seat is truly amazing. It tells the path that I have taken. It gives me great pleasure to give that back to the community. It’s been a long-traveled road.” The celebration of the league’s brightest stars, and the ubiquitous banners and signage devoted to it will make it even harder than usual to visibly spot signs of Jordan’s ownership of the Hornets. For a typical regular season game, you might spy a flag emblazoned with his well-known “Jumpman” logo. Occasionally he’ll watch part of the game, rarely all, from seats at the end of his team’s bench, though he’s as likely to retreat to his suite atop the arena’s lower bowl. An in-game, timeout scoreboard video meant to stoke the crowd includes shots of GM Mitch Kupchak (“Architect of Champions”) and coach James Borrego (“Elite Pedigree”) but ends right about the time you expect some dramatic silhouette of His Airness to appear. It’s as if Jordan is as protective of his brand in running the Hornets as he is in maintaining its exclusivity in the marketplace. Doesn’t matter, though. His fingerprints are all over the franchise, as a basketball team, as a business enterprise and as a member of the community. On court, Jordan trusts his team Jordan’s greatest notoriety as an owner in a basketball setting may have come in December, when he was courtside for a tense game against Detroit. Guard Jeremy Lamb drained a 22-foot jumper with 0.3 seconds left, sending reserves Malik Monk and Bismack Biyombo onto the floor in celebration of what would be a 108-107 home victory. Trouble was, that sliver of time on the clock. Too many men. The Hornets were whistled for a one-shot technical foul and Jordan impulsively smacked Monk lightly, twice, on the back of the head. Any other owner does that, the player’s agent might file a grievance with the players union. Jordan does it and, thanks to his in-the-trenches, in-the-fraternity credibility, it comes across as a goof. “A tap of endearment,” Jordan called it later in a statement. “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!" Said Monk: “Big, big, big brother. But it was nothing. He was just playing.” The arc of Jordan’s career and his reputation as a stone-cold competitor make it OK if he wants to vent -- or swipe -- when things don’t go the Hornets’ way. Doesn’t matter that Jordan, who will turn 56 on All-Star Sunday, is old enough to be any of his players' dad. He still carries himself like an athlete, and their frame of reference remains, “That’s Mike.” “I’ve seen kids come up through camps,” said Buzz Peterson, Charlotte’s assistant general manager under Kupchak. “You could say Julius Erving, you could say Larry Johnson, Karl Malone, whatever, and the kids’ eyes are like, ‘Who?’ But you say Michael Jordan, they’re gonna know. That’s the separation there.” Peterson is among Jordan’s closest friends -- he beat him out as North Carolina’s prep player of the year in 1981, won an NCAA title with him as a Tar Heels teammate and is described by those who know both as someone who can disagree with the boss while staying comfortably in the inner circle. For Borrego, Charlotte’s first-year coach, interviewing to run Jordan’s team could have been intimidating. “We’re all human beings -- there’s a presence that comes with ‘Michael Jordan’ when he’s around,” Borrego told NBA.com in January. “But it’s healthy. He comes with a competitive spirit that you feel. “Michael was straight with me from Day 1. When I interviewed, he said, ‘I’m going to give you space to do your job. Whatever you need, you come to me. I’ll give you the resources you need.’ He has not tried to interfere one time. I feel his full support. … We’re starting to speak each other’s language, which is pretty healthy for us now.” Jordan keeps the coach apprised of his interactions with players, Borrego said. Other coaches should have such a resource at the ready. Hornets guard and 2019 All-Star starter Kemba Walker probably has benefited most from Jordan’s counsel. They text frequently, a pinch-me arrangement to this day for Walker. “I grew up wearing Jordans, grew up wanting to be like Jordan,” Walker said recently. “So for me to get this opportunity to be on his team means the world to me. He’s the one who believed in me -- I had no idea where I was going to go on draft night and he traded up for me. I’ve always heard the story, he was the one who actually drafted me. So it’s unbelievable. “He’s such a good dude. He understands what it is to be good. His delivery is always good. Only in a positive way, honestly.” Said rookie wing Miles Bridges: “You think there’ll be a lot of pressure having MJ as an owner. I’d seen how he got on his teammates when he played. So I was nervous, thinking if I had a bad game, he’d go at me like, ‘What’re you doing?’ But after meeting him and bonding with him, I feel like he’s the coolest owner out there. I don’t feel any pressure, I feel like he wants the best for us.” Big man Frank Kaminsky typically sits at the end of the bench, which puts him cheek to cheek with Jordan when he’s courtside. “He’s talking about what he’s seeing out on the court. Talking to the refs,” Kaminsky said. “Things other players don’t necessarily see. He still thinks the game. “You see things on the court that he sees. One game, the roll, pocket-pass, skip to the corner was open. He was saying that. We made an adjustment in a timeout, but he saw it a couple plays before that. At the end of that game, we had a big play that was a roll, pocket-pass, into the corner that put the game away. It worked the way he’d seen it.” The Hornets’ struggles during Jordan’s tenure as owner wouldn’t suggest it -- the last time this organization won a playoff series (2002), Jordan still was a player -- but there is a prestige to playing for his team. It’s not unlike being welcomed onto the list of elite athletes who endorse Jordan Brand. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s in both,” Kaminsky said. “You’re talking about the most iconic player in sports history -- I might be biased because I grew up in Chicago -- but when you have his approval, it means a lot. You have it in the back of your mind that he wants you here.” Head smack or no head smack. Jordan grows as owner, businessman Basketball is a zero-sum game and the NBA is full of stars, even if none shines quite as brightly as Jordan. But business has room for negotiation and compromise, and deals get struck daily that leave both sides happy. There, Jordan has been beyond clutch. Funnel down everything he’s accomplished -- six NBA championships, the league’s highest career scoring average (30.1), five MVP awards, six Finals MVP, 10 scoring titles, nine All-Defensive team nods -- and it invariably ends with clammy hands. The “wow” factor is real and the Hornets are extremely careful about leveraging it. “It gives our organization a certain cachet,” said Whitfield, another longtime friend who goes back more than 35 years with Jordan. “For him to be majority owner, for him to do it in his home state as a local hometown hero, and to be able to come back and not just lead the team and the rebranding from the Bobcats to the Hornets, but his commitment to the community in giving back, it’s something that’s so special.” That’s a lot to unpack. When Jordan initially signed on with the Hornets, he did so as head of its basketball operations in 2006, purchasing a small minority stake in the team. The team was bad, the business was worse and trending down. “Back in ’08-09, the economy was in the tank and I was mandated to ‘displace’ 42 of our executives here on the business side,” Whitfield said. “When Michael bought the team, we were losing $30 million a year.’ Brought back into the league in 2004 two years after the original Hornets (1988-2002) were moved to New Orleans by reviled owner George Shinn, the Charlotte expansion team was owned -- and nicknamed -- by Bob Johnson, a co-founder of the BET television network. The Bobcats excelled only at losing and were 122 games under .500 in their first five seasons. The front office was understaffed, Spectrum Center (then known as Time Warner Cable Arena) needed renovations almost from its inception and there was a real sense that, if a buyer with deep pockets and a commitment to the area weren’t found, the franchise could be moved. In March 2010, Jordan ponied up the cash to become majority owner. But it says something that the deal stands as one of the few, if ever, instances of an NBA franchise being sold at a discount. Johnson paid $300 million for the team; Jordan purchased it for $275 million. Forbes.com recently had Charlotte worth $1.25 billion -- which ranks 28th. And Jordan reportedly has one of the biggest stakes of all NBA owners, with his share estimated at upwards of 90 percent, possibly as high as 98 percent. That’s a lot of success in nine years, despite the basketball team’s mostly middling performance. “With MJ being with the team, you got instant credibility in the marketplace,” said Pete Guelli, the chief operating officer who started on the job about 10 months before Jordan took ownership. “There had been a lot of uncertainty previously, but with his brand and his resources and his commitment, that just dissipated immediately. It was much, much easier to walk in the door and tell people about our vision for this franchise.” Rebranding the team as “Hornets” gave the franchise an existential boost -- it suddenly had a history again, complete with records, archives and true alumni. The arena got a makeover and, per Guelli, is credited for events there that generate an alleged $1 billion in revenues for local businesses. “Fortunately, we’ve been profitable pretty much since [Jordan took over],” Whitfield said. “That’s huge, especially since we haven’t gotten where we want to be on the basketball side.” Closing a new kind of game now It’s hard to overstate Jordan’s added value, not so much as some corporate or financial whiz but as a presence who brought instant motivation and energy to the staff. He imported executives with whom he had developed relationships at Nike or in other ventures and, after taking early criticism for an uncertain level of involvement, has been more diligent in recent years. “I love seeing him sitting at the end of the bench encouraging his players when he attends a game” said Charles F. Bowman, Bank of America’s market president for Charlotte and North Carolina. “And as a business person what impresses me is that he has empowered his management team to focus not only on the court but also on building bridges with the community. “He had a vision for where he was taking the team and a clear plan to get there. He has hired good people, gives them latitude to make decisions and he expects them to perform. Michael is unique -- the best player ever who is determined to keep getting better year over year as an owner.” The NBA has gotten a taste of Jordan’s growth and transition at some pivotal times. This is the legendary voice of the players who, during rancorous negotiations in the 1998 lockout, countered Washington owner Abe Pollin’s gripes about losing money by telling Pollin to sell his team. By the lockout of 2011, Jordan had moved to the other side of the table. But several members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee saw him not as an opponent or turncoat but as a role model: someone who had transformed himself from employee to employer at the game’s highest level. “The players understood, he had been in their shoes,” Whitfield said. “He’s not forgetting what it meant to be a player. He was in the process of learning what it meant to be an owner.” When the current collective bargaining agreement was negotiated with commissioner Adam Silver and union director Michele Roberts leading the talks, Jordan was an active, powerful voice. He is an influential member of the NBA’s labor relations and competition committees. One Charlotte insider spoke to Jordan’s clout with his fellow owners in getting this weekend’s showcase -- jeopardized by a political squabble in 2017 -- back onto the league’s short list. “There’s no All-Star Game here in Charlotte if it’s not for MJ,” the person said. Last summer in Las Vegas, Silver lauded Jordan for his ability to straddle the basketball and business worlds. “He brings unique credibility to the table when we're having discussions [with the players],” he said, “and even just among the owners, he's able to represent a player point of view… Michael can say, 'Well, look, this is how I looked at it when I was a player, and these are the kind of issues we need to address if we're going to convince players that something is in everyone's interest.’ ” Jordan’s powers of persuasion apparently have been even more impressive in Charlotte and North Carolina. The executives are careful about relying on him too often -- Jordan’s most precious commodity, now that his net worth is estimated to be upwards of $1.7 billion -- is his time. But when they need Mariano Rivera to walk in from the bullpen, he is lights out. “We’ve had corporate sponsors at a golf outing, and he’s been there, maybe stayed at one hole to tell off with everybody,” Whitfield said. Or they’ll invite certain corporate sponsors to one of a few games each season in which “Club 23” is up and running at the Spectrum Center, a private club built for such purposes. They get a chance to visit, talk with and pick Jordan’s brain on the Hornets and much more. “We’ve closed all those deals,” Whitfield said. Then there was the time a local CEO wanted to finalize a sizeable sponsorship deal with the team, and had his No. 2 invite Jordan over to their headquarters for the meetings. Whitfield told the tale: “This guy says, 'You have to come to our office. Our CEO is the man in our business.' But we’re like, 'Nah, typically, CEOs come and meet in Michael’s office or in ‘Club 23’ over here.' He said no, that wasn’t going to work for them. “So Pete Guelli said, 'Let’s make a deal: We’ll take your CEO and drop him off in Beijing. And we’ll drop off Michael in Beijing. Then we’ll see who more people gravitate to. Whoever gets the least people, he has to come to the other guy’s office.'” Point made. Point taken. Said Whitfield: “The guy says, ‘You know what, I got it. We’ll be over 10 o’clock Friday morning.’” A community he calls home The Michael Jordan who once seemed determined to float above cultural and political frays as the most prudent way to serve commerce has not held back in recent years from making his presence felt. He has been more philanthropist than activist and, let’s face it, in times of the most dire need, cash beats talk every time. Charity and investing in the community can be good for business, sure. Making that a priority after Guelli’s arrival and Jordan’s purchase helped the Hornets build bridges with fans and merchants that Shinn and the original franchise’s departure had torched. More than that, though, giving back for Jordan and his team at this point in his life was the right thing to do. And do, and do, and do. The list of charitable and civic efforts Jordan and the Hornets have undertaken is long, with few outside the region or state aware of most of it. Among the highlights: - Donating $2 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, particularly meaningful because of the damage it did in Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington. - Dedicated $7 million in partnership with Novant Health to fund two Michael Jordan Family Clinics, set to open in Charlotte in 2020. - Serving as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008, while donating more than $5 million to the organization. His relationship with Make-A-Wish began more than 30 years ago. - Contributing $5 million as a founding donor of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. - Addressing the issue of police shootings and community policing in 2016 by donating $1 million each to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. After the hurricane in September devastated so many homes and businesses in and near Jordan’s roots, he wanted to do more than to stroke a fat check. In a meeting covered by The Associated Press, he met with Stephanie Parker and her family, including four young children, after they lost their apartment in two feet of flooding. A call from the director of the Cape Fear chapter of the Red Cross brought them together. The meeting took place at a Lowe’s home improvement store. “I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’" Parker said. “I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!’ I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind.” Afterward, Jordan was coaxed by the Charlotte Observer to talk about why that disaster resonated so deeply for him. “You gotta take care of home,” he said. “Wilmington truly is my home. Kept thinking about all those places I grew up going to … You don’t want to see any of that anywhere, but when it’s home, that’s tough to swallow.” There’s basketball, there’s business and then there’s real life, which sometimes intrudes in the most desperate ways. “We didn’t know how many people in our community were hungry,” Whitfield said. “There are people in dire need, and it’s special to have that hometown hero have in his heart that ‘This is where I can help.’ “It gives not only him as a person but our organization a platform to really speak out. That commitment is what has made him a special owner, and why he’s even more beloved in our community.” Winning title No. 7 drives Jordan now To date, Jordan’s greatest achievements have come elsewhere, at least since his baseline shot as a freshman propelled North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA championship. Those Bulls championships, the “Dream Team” magnificence, his partnership with that sneaker company in Beaverton, Ore., his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction, shooting “Space Jam,” all of it -- his legacy has been crafted with others, for others, mostly far from home. (For the record, Jordan, his wife Yvette and their two daughters own a mansion outside Charlotte and an estate in south Florida). “Look, this has always been home for him,” Whitfield said. “Even though he was drafted by Chicago, WGN became a very popular station. And he just continued to elevate, so people in this state were proud to say, even though he’s a Bull, we love him. When the Bulls would come here and play at the old Coliseum, these fans who were avid Hornets fans were all pulling for Michael Jordan. “He’d score, they’d cheer loudly. The Hornets would score, they’d cheer loudly. North Carolina always felt like he was their native son who went off and achieved greatness.” Coming back first to head the franchise’s basketball operations and then as owner, Jordan’s role -- in light of the modest results on the court -- has been custodial. Yes, the club’s improved financial stability is important. But for this driven winner and NBA owner unlike all others, custodial isn’t going to cut it for long. “He did an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine a while back,” Peterson said, “and the question was asked, ‘What would you like to do?’ And he said, ‘Win a seventh championship. Win as an owner.’ So for me, every day, I’m thinking, here’s a close friend and you want to make your friends happy, right? So each day I think, do the best you can to reach this goal for him.” Said Hornets wing Nicolas Batum: “I understand. He wants to win. He wants to compete since he was born.” It hasn’t been for lack of trying, although Jordan has made sure to keep fiscal responsibility high on every agenda. The team’s payroll for 2018-19 is approximately $122.3 million, which ranks near the middle of the NBA pack. “That Michael Jordan is one cheap dude,” said an impassioned cab driver on a recent airport run. “He’s only going to spend so much and the players they get shows it.” The Hornets never have spent into the league’s luxury-tax, and if Walker is retained when he hits free agency this summer, he’ll likely become the first Charlotte player to sign a full maximum-salary contract (though the five-year, $120 million deal Batum landed in 2016 came awfully close). Injuries and dubious moves have taken a toll, a situation that Kupchak, Borrego and their staffs have been tasked with fixing. Jordan, by all accounts, is engaged yet patient, with a playoff berth and potentially a record above .500 within reach. “I’m sure he feels like,” Whitfield said, “if he were still 30 years old and could lace ‘em up and get out there, he’d help us get over the hump. I think he would cherish it as much or more than the first six. Because I think he realizes how hard it is to get it done. “But it doesn’t bother us if the fans see his frustration sitting next to our bench. It’s important to us that they see he’s not only invested, he’s vested in what our team is trying to do. They can relate to him because they’re feeling that same frustration.” Jordan is theirs again and that’s what matters. For basketball, for business, for community and in time, just maybe, in championship. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News23 min. ago

UAAP Season 81: Naga-adjust pa lang kami -- Bagunas

National University top hitter Bryan Bagunas admitted that the Bulldogs are still adjusting with the absence of starting setter Kim Dayandante.    The Bulldogs’ struggles were just too obvious after suffering a shocking 12-25, 18-25, 17-25, loss at the hands of Far Eastern University Saturday in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the FilOiul Flying V Centre in San Juan. Bagunas was the only NU player in double digits with 15 points on a 14-of-37 spiking clip.     “Siguro sa ngayon naga-adjust pa lang kami kasi late na nasabi na di makakapaglaro si Kim eh. Mga three days before this game saka sinabi na di makakapaglaro si Kim so nandun ang adjustment namin ngayon,” said Bagunas. Dayandante was dropped from the roster after the eligibility screening. Rookie Joshua Retamar got a baptism of fire as starter, tallying 18 excellent sets in 82 attempts. “Sa set play naga-adjust pa kami kasi sa mga laro namin sa labas ang ginagamit namin si Kim Dayandante nga so wala pa yung jell namin sa (bagong) setter namin,” Bagunas added. Another problem that plagued the ASEAN University Games gold medalists is the number of errors they committed. NU threw 32 points off their miscues. “Isa pa rin ‘yun ang errors na ‘di namin na-control na naman. Nandoon na naman ‘yung sakit namin bumabalik,” Bagunas said. “Siguro kailangan pa naming ma-maintan ‘yung dati na nali-lessen namin ang error namin.” Still, the Bulldogs remained positive despite the loss. “Sabi naman nila coach Dante (Alinsunurin) start pa lang ito hanggang May pa ito,” said Bagunas. “’Di pa rito natatapos ang season so umpisahan uli namin sa training. Talagang pupukpukin na namin ang jell namin para sa next game.” NU will face University of the East next week.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News12 hr. 35 min. ago

Boxing: Aston Palicte and camp waiting for title rematch with Donnie Nietes

After starching previously-undefeated Puerto Rican Jose Martinez in just two rounds back in late January, Filipino super flyweight contener Aston "Mighty" Palicte is back in the title picture.  The 28-year olf native of Bago, Negros earned a mandatory challenger spot after knocking out Martinez in the second round of their WBO super flyweight title eliminator, and now he's ready to challenge for the belt once more.  Fittingly, the man holding the WBO's 115-pound title is a familiar face in four-division titleholder Donnie "Ahas" Nietes, who Palicte already faced back in 2018 for the then-vacant WBO title.  Of course, the bout ended in a controversial split draw. Nietes would fight for and caputure the title just months later, defeatign Japan's Kazuto Ioka via split decision in Macau on New Year's Eve.  For Palicte, the prospect of once again challenging his fellow Negrense is all about doing his job and achieving his ultimate goal of becoming a world champion. "Sa akin naman, unang-una, ayaw ko din sana na Pinoy yung kalaban ko, kasi dalawang Pinoy, pero sabi ko nga, wala eh, trabaho ‘to eh," Palicte told ABS-CBN Sports. "Eto yung trabaho ko, alam din naman nila Donnie yun eh. Siyempre, sports lang, trabaho lang." In a perfect world, Palicte would rather find a way to capture a world championship without having to challenge Nietes, which could mean even more world championships for the Philippines.  "Kung may ibang paraan na hindi kami mag-lalaban [pero makakapag-champion ako], mas maganda yun," he explained. "Para yung may isa na Pinoy na champion, tapos kung manalo yung isa pang Pinoy na, kunyari ako, sa iba, world championship sa iba, at least dadagdag na naman yung Pinoy [na world champion] diba?" How it stands however, Palicte is the next in line for the WBO title, which means that to become a champion himself, he'll have to go through Nietes. For the Roy Jones Jr-promoted talent, he's just waiting to see what materializes in the next few days or weeks.  "Ang sakin, gaya ng sinasabi ko sa kanila, hindi ko iniisip kumbaga, sana kaming dalawa ni Nietes [yung maglaban], una hindi ko gusto yun, pero kung mangyari yun, kung gusto talaga ng promoter ko at promoter niya, manager niya at manager ko, wala naman ako magagawa kasi boxer ako. Kailangan ko sundin kung ano yung desisyon nila, nung promoter ko at ng manager ko." "Talagang nag-hihintay lang ako sa kung ano gusto nila," he continued.  While the WBO has ordered a rematch between the two Negros-born pugilists, Dennis Gasgonia of ABS-CBN News reports that Nietes' promoter ALA Promotions will be looking at the options, which could include a unification bout with the other 115-pound titleholders.  Palicte's long-time manager Jason Soong knows full well that a do-over with Nietes is far from set in stone, and he says that he understands the Cebu-based stable's desire to go after the division's bigger stars.  "I understand where they’re coming from, especially with Donnie being an older boxer, I guess he’s going towards the later part of his career, so I understand where they’re coming from, but walang personalan, it’s boxing, but there’s a reason why we’re the mandatory challenger," Soong elaborated. "If they don’t want to fight us, they’ll have to probably vacate the belt, because I don’t think the WBO is going…just the way the WBO is addressing this, the fact that they’re coming out with statements right away, and then the official letters are being circulated, I think the WBO is very serious that when it’s a mandatory, it’s a mandatory." "I don’t think they’re playing around with that," he added. Much like Palicte, Soong reiterated that the desire to go after Nietes stems from the simple fact that he is the one holding the belt.  "I understand them, but kami, we’re happy because we feel like we earned it, bottomline. It’s not like we chose him as an opponent, nagkataon lang na he holds the belt. Even that for me, them fighting for that belt, for me it’s also, that’s what I’m questioning, because [Donnie and Aston are] one and two, and they leapfrog us and then they fight for the belt and we’re left with the eliminator, but for me, sige, we took it. We took it and we’re here now." While the next step for Palicte remains unclear at this point, Soong is confident that his ward's next fight will be one for a major world championship.  "I’m excited, because I think no matter what happens, Aston’s next fight will be for a world championship, whether it’s with Donnie or with someone else. I’m excited." Should Nietes end up vacating the WBO title, Soong sees a scenario wherein Palicte could end up facing Mexican star Juan Francisco Estrada for the title in what he considers a 'dream fight'.  "Well, if he vacates it and we’re in the championship, the one next ranked is Estrada," Soong said. "That would be, ever since Aston was a contender, [Estrada] was actually our dream match, and I think their styles, Estrada was the main event in the last SuperFly 3, and it was always our dream matchup, one because he’s a big name and we think it would be a very good, very entertaining fight, and I think we would do well against a fighter like that.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

House backs Rody& rsquo;s veto of & lsquo;insertions,& rsquo; pork in & lsquo;19 budget

House backs Rody& rsquo;s veto of & lsquo;insertions,& rsquo; pork in & lsquo;19 budget.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsFeb 7th, 2019

Irish jihadist tells of the dying days of IS & lsquo;caliphate& rsquo;

Irish jihadist tells of the dying days of IS & lsquo;caliphate& rsquo;.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 30th, 2019

& lsquo;First 1,000 Days of Life& rsquo; law is timely& mdash;Odyssey Foundation

& lsquo;First 1,000 Days of Life& rsquo; law is timely& mdash;Odyssey Foundation.....»»

Category: financeSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 12th, 2019

Rookie Ladder: Big performances abound at season s midway point

By Drew Packham, NBA.com Due to a much-needed holiday break on my part, it’s been two weeks since we last checked in on this impressive rookie class, and they didn’t disappoint since then. There have been some monster games in the past 14 days including the following: - Luka Doncic scored a career-high 34 points on Dec. 29 (PHL time) in New Orleans, going 7-for-10 from beyond the arc (10-for-16 overall) in a 114-112 loss to the Pelicans.       - Deandre Ayton scored a career-high 33 points with 14 rebounds (10 offensive) and four steals (also a career high) on Dec. 30 (PHL time) in a 122-118 loss to the Nuggets. Ayton was 16-for-20 from the field.       - Landry Shamet scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Sixers to a 132-115 win over the Wizards on Jan. 9 (PHL time). Shamet was 8-for-14 from three-point land in what was easily his biggest night of his career.       - Hawks rookie Kevin Huerter scored a career-high 22 points on Jan. 1 (PHl time) in a 116-108 loss to the Pacers. Huerter was 8-for-15 from the field, going 6-for-8 from beyond the arc.       - Pelicans rookie Frank Jackson scored a career-high 17 points Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time) in 17 minutes in a 114-95 win over the Grizzlies, then topped that two nights later with 19 points -- hitting all four three-point attempts -- in 19 minutes in a 140-124 win over the Cavs.   We’ve just hit the midway point of the season, and big games should start becoming more common as teams falling further out of the playoff race give their youngsters more opportunities. * * * 1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks Last week: No. 1 Doncic dominated his third matchup with No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, notching 30 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. It was Doncic’s fourth 30-point game of the season, while no other rookie has more than one. It was also his seventh game with 20-5-5. All other rookies have combined for five such games. Over the past two weeks, the Slovenian has averaged 22.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists while shooting 40 percent from 3-point land. 2. Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns Last week: No. 2 While Ayton has had some monster games over the past two weeks -- averaging 16.2 points and 9.7 rebounds over nine games -- he’s also had some clunkers in the New Year. In a 121-111 loss to the LA Clippers, Ayton finished with four points and five rebounds with four turnovers, then struggled mightily in Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) loss to the Mavs. In 20 minutes, the big man had six points and five rebounds while hitting just 1-of-7 shots. "For the first time, I think I ever, went scoreless in the first half and stuff like that just started to get to me a little bit," said Ayton. "It was just me being the bad egg today. I'm going to apologize to them about this, but yeah, it was a bad game for me." 3. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks Last week: Not ranked Young has shot more consistently over the last two weeks, shooting 44.7 percent overall and 47.4 percent on three-pointers. I’ve hammered Young repeatedly for his poor shooting numbers, so I have to give him props for his turnaround. Over his last nine games, he’s averaged 15.9 points and 7.6 assists and has generally looked more in control and selective with his shots. Young continues to lead rookies in assists at 7.3 per game, which puts him ninth among all players. 4. Kevin Knox, New York Knicks Last week: No. 3 Knox was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December after averaging 17.1 points and six rebounds. The 6'9" forward out of Kentucky is certainly on the rise, but also admitted he may not even be done growing. “Doctors said I have a half-inch or an inch left in the tank,” Knox told the New York Post recently. “You never know -- hopefully I have an inch [left]. Maybe 6-10, 6-10.5. If not, I’m perfectly fine with where I’m at.” For his part, coach David Fizdale is letting his young prospect grow with more minutes and responsibility. “Right now, he’s gained momentum, and [I want to] keep him rolling. It’s starting to become I need him on the court. That’s pretty good to say about a 19-year-old. We need him out there.” 5. Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies Last week: Not ranked Jackson has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 games, but his rebounding and foul troubles are areas of concern. Jackson is first (or worst, depending on how you look at it) among all players in fouls per game (3.9) and is just sixth in rebounds per game among rookies. "Because of how long, tall and narrow he is, when guys lock him up he has a hard time escaping or staying on balance," Bickerstaff told The Commercial Appeal last week. "To be honest, with him, with his length and athleticism, he needs to be trying to escape people more and not let them get their hands or body on him where they can wedge him out." These are all things the 19-year-old will figure out, as Bickerstaff says. “The way he works, the way he studies, he's going to figure it out.” * * * Just missed the cut: Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets Kurucs falls out of the top five, but it was a close call thanks to an impressive night in Boston. Kurucs tied a career high with 24 points. He finished 8-for-15 from the field, hitting a career-high five triples on eight attempts. Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls Carter has scored in double-digits in five of his last seven games, with a pair of double-doubles to close out 2018. Most notably, he had a 17-point, 13-rebound, three-block showing in a win over the Wizards on Dec. 28 (Dec. 29, PHL time). Landry Shamet, Philadelphia 76ers Shamet not only scored a career-high 29 on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time), but he also set personal bests by making eight three's (one shy of Dana Barros’ team record set in ‘95) on 14 attempts. He scored 15 of his points in the third quarter when he was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. “It just happens,” Shamet said afterward. “That might not be the answer you’re looking for, but it’s just simple, and it just comes in the flow of everything.” Frank Jackson, New Orleans Pelicans This could be an anomaly and Jackson won’t stick around these parts, but he deserves some love for his work off the bench. With E’Twaun Moore nursing a quad injury, Jackson has stepped up, scoring 17 points in a win on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time), followed by 19 in Wednesday’s (Thursday, PHL time) win over the Cavs. Jackson was 11-for 15 overall in the two games, going 7-for-12 from three-point land (7-for-7 from the FT line). Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers Sexton has scored in double figures in his last six games, but the Cavs are mired in an 11-game skid and the rookie is dealing with his own shooting woes. During the slide, Sexton is shooting 32.4 percent from the field, 35.5 percent on three-pointers. * * * (All stats through Jan. 10, PHL time).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2019

Rody to visit storm-hit CamSur; & lsquo;Usman& rsquo; death toll rises to 122

Rody to visit storm-hit CamSur; & lsquo;Usman& rsquo; death toll rises to 122.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 3rd, 2019

Laundry woman biggest winner in UKG& rsquo;s & lsquo;12 Days of Christmas& rsquo;

Laundry woman biggest winner in UKG& rsquo;s & lsquo;12 Days of Christmas& rsquo;.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

& lsquo;Rody touched maid& rsquo; sparks outrage

& lsquo;Rody touched maid& rsquo; sparks outrage.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

& lsquo;Balangiga& rsquo; rings in Rody& rsquo;s attendance

& lsquo;Balangiga& rsquo; rings in Rody& rsquo;s attendance.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 13th, 2018

Poe & lsquo;ecstatic& rsquo; over the signing of First 1,000 Days Law

Poe & lsquo;ecstatic& rsquo; over the signing of First 1,000 Days Law.....»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsDec 12th, 2018

PVL: How tough love and Kutsinta created special bond among Bundit, Valdez and Morado

BATANGAS CITY –- Tough love and shared success were the things that created a special bond among a Thai coach who barely spoke English, a talented spiker and a heady playmaker. A hard-earned UAAP title brought them to the volleyball limelight five years ago. On Saturday, in front of a huge adoring crowd inside the Batangas City Coliseum here Saturday night, Creamline head coach Tai Bundit, ace hitter Alyssa Valdez and setter Jia Morado parted ways after capturing the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference championship.  It was a bitter-sweet moment for the three who shared an incredible journey that captured the hearts of Filipino volleyball fans. From a simple meeting back in September 2013, to the countless hours of Spartan-like training, the triumphs, trials and tribulations to their final farewell inside the volleyball court, the three made colorful memories together. They shared the bond of family. Recalling their fondest memory with the amiable coach, Valdez said that the Bundit made his biggest mark on her with just the smallest of things: a pack of Kutsinta.   “Isa lang talaga ang mamimiss ko sa kanya, whenever we fight talaga, kailangan ko nang sabihin ‘to kasi everyone deserves to know na ganitong klaseng tao siya talaga. Everytime we fight kasi noong college kasi syempre may language barrier so lagi kaming nag-aaway talaga ni Coach Tai, in a good way (kasi) baka akala ng mga tao nang-aaway ako, every time I go out of the dorm, every single day, lagi akong may kutsinta (galing) sa kanya,” Valdez, the PVL Open Conference MVP admitted. “Before going to class lagi akong may pagkain na iniiwan niya sa dorm parang peace offering niya, para hindi daw ako mapagod, may energy daw ako, so I think isa ‘yun sa mga hindi ko makakalimutan sa kanya,” she continued. “Ganoon siyang klaseng tao, very thoughtful and hindi ko talaga ma-imagine ang paglalaro ng volleyball without him kasi siya sa mga naging coach ko na really trusted me, really put me inside the court kahit anong mangyari and iba ang tiwalang binibigay niya sa aming mga players.” For Morado she was just grateful for having Bundit push her beyond her limit to become arguably the best volleyball playmaker in the country.  “‘Yung pinaka-tumatak sa akin kay Coach Tai is how high of a standard he has for me,” said Morado, who won her third Best Setter award in the PVL and earned the Finals Most Valuable Player after the Cool Smashers completed a sweep of Ateneo-Motolite, 25-20, 25-20, 25-15.   “Kahit feeling ko I’m playing at my best na, as in, peak ko na talaga, there is always something na gusto niya i-improve sa akin na sobrang nacha-challenge ako sa kanya parati kasi it’s always so hard for me to get praises from Coach Tai,” she added. “That’s something na nadadaanan ng lahat ng players niya, sobrang taas ng standards niya.” Six days from now, Bundit will formally end half a decade of colorful volleyball coaching in the Philippines with a packed bag and a plane ticket – the same way he started it. He will leave a legacy of ‘happy, happy’ and a heart strong mantra. Morado and Valdez will need to move on with their own careers. But they won’t miss Coach Tai. They have a good reason to say so. “Hindi namin siya mami-miss,” said Valdez. “Pupunta kami ng Thailand.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2018

PBA Draft: UP captain Desiderio hopes to follow in footsteps of PJ Simon

One PBA team may very well have a new battlecry after the upcoming 2018 PBA Draft. Just two days after playing his last game for the University of the Philippines, Paul Desiderio has submitted on Friday his name to be included in the list of hopefuls in this year’s rookie selection process. The Fighting Maroons’ captain averaged 13.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.3 steals in his last year in the UAAP. Two years ago, he was hailed as a Mythical selection on the back of norms of 15.4 markers, 7.1 boards, and 2.6 dimes. More than the numbers, however, Desiderio became a legend in Diliman thanks to the immortal words he muttered during one timeout – before proceeding to walking the talk. Since then, “Atin ‘to” became UP’s battlecry all the way to their first Final Four since 1997 and then their first Finals since 1986. Now, the 5-foot-11 guard is ready and raring to show his big heart to the professional stage. “Kung anong kaya kong mabigay sa team, yun lang ang gagawin ko. Sa akin, lalaro lang ako,” he said. With his application, Desiderio is being penciled in to go somewhere in the middle of the first round of the 2018 PBA Draft scheduled on December 16. Wherever he ends up, however, the Cebuano is hoping to be able to have the same career as a Cotabato icon. “Sa akin, si PJ Simon talaga ginagawa ko. Sinusubukan ko talaga lahat ng galaw niya, lalo yung one-hander niya,” he said. Simon, also known as “The Scoring Apostle,” has had per game counts of 11.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists through his 14-year career. If Desiderio gets to match those, or even come close, then without a doubt, UP would have a pro star for the first time in recent history. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 7th, 2018

UAAP Finals: Better Bo-lieve it, UP is here to stay

The University of the Philippines got swept by Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals of the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament. Still, the season will always be remembered as the time when the Fighting Maroons ended their 21-year playoff drought and their 32-year Finals absence. More than that, the season may very well be remembered as when State U formalized its return to relevance. “Oo naman. ‘Winning Maroons’ na kami. Our minds are there already,” head coach Bo Perasol proudly said, even after they have just gotten blanked in the championship round. Indeed, from 2007 to 2015, UP only won 13 times out of 126 games. Those days have been self-depreciatingly called “the dark days.” Since head coach Bo Perasol took over, however, they have gone 19-23. Making “Bo-lievers” out of skeptics, coach Bo has led his alma mater to its best showing since 1986 with a runner-up finish they wrapped up on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. Yes, the Fighting Maroons were only runners-up to the Blue Eagles, but relative to the former who had just gotten out of “the dark days,” silver seems like gold. And, if coach Bo is to still be “Bo-lieved,” they are far from finished. “We already did it and we’re enjoying the (aftermath) of that – the praise, the adulation – but we need to move on from that. I’m so excited about my prospects kahit na ang expectations, mataas ngayon and next year, how much more” he said. He then continued, “It’s gonna be the Finals now, not (just) the Final Four. It’s about the Finals when we go back because if I say it’s (just) Finals Four, no one’s gonna believe them now.” Keep doubting him and UP at your own risk – what’s sure is that the Fighting Maroons won’t stop “Bo-lieving.” --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2018

Vince Carter enjoying his decision to go to Atlanta

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press Vince Carter could have gone anywhere. To a contender, to chase a ring. To retirement, because he has nothing left to prove. To television, which seems like it will be his next vocation whenever his playing days end. Instead, he chose Atlanta — a young team, a rebuilding team, a team that probably has minimal chance of making the playoffs. And he’s happy. “I’m with a great bunch of guys,” Carter said. “I enjoy helping young guys who want to learn, who are willing to be coached and let you coach them and ask questions. It’s a small thing, but it’s a major thing — because if you’re asking questions, that means you’re trying to learn and grow. And these guys are all great.” He’s the NBA’s oldest active player, someone who turns 42 next month. When he was drafted in June 1998, neither Trae Young nor Kevin Huerter had been born yet. And they’re the starting backcourt for the Hawks this season, Carter’s 21st in the league, with Atlanta being the eighth team he’s played with. Carter talked with Dwyane Wade during the offseason about their options; Wade was considering retirement, and Carter was deciding where to play next. Wade said Carter doesn’t need a ring to complete any sort of legacy, and applauded the decision to go to Atlanta. “It’s very cool,” Wade said. “I think everybody on the outside has what they think someone should do. I was like, ‘Man, it’d be cool if he went back to Toronto.’ I had my story for him. But he decided to continue to do things the way that he’s done it, and I think it’s him understanding the importance of what he has to offer to the game and young players, and an organization that wanted him to come in and give that.” There are no regrets. Barring a change of address or another season — which is possible — Carter’s career will end with him getting to the conference finals only once, and never appearing in the NBA Finals. The closest he got was with Orlando in 2010, when the Magic lost the Eastern Conference finals to Boston in six games. “It’s easy to go sit on the bench and watch your team win and not really contribute,” Carter said. “Yeah, with my voice, I could contribute. But I want to do both.” So Carter is hanging with the kids. “It’s good for me,” Carter said. “Keeps me young.” RAPTORS RISING Toronto is off to the best start in the NBA at 20-4, four games clear of Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference already (and four games in the loss column ahead of Philadelphia as well). The scary thing is, it could have been better. It’s been forgotten, but the Raptors’ season also includes a three-game losing streak — all in a five-day span last month. They lost by 16 against New Orleans to fall to 12-2, then wasted a 19-point lead and lost to Detroit, then watched Kawhi Leonard miss late in regulation in what became an overtime loss to Boston. They’re 8-0 since, and first-year coach Nick Nurse has his team rolling. “Nick has done a really good job with this team and the way they play,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. THE WEEK AHEAD A game per day to check out this week: Oklahoma City at Detroit, Monday (Tuesday, PHL time): Former teammates Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson seem to like going head-to-head. San Antonio at Utah, Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time): The Spurs struggled with the Jazz last season, and this opens a tough road back-to-back. Philadelphia at Toronto, Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time): The Raptors have opened up a sizable lead in the East, and face a good test here. New York at Boston, Thursday (Friday, PHL time): After a sluggish start, the Celtics are starting to look like the team many envisioned. Golden State at Milwaukee, Friday (Saturday, PHL time): Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo on the same floor is must-watch. Miami at L.A. Clippers, Saturday (Sunday, PHL time): Wade is eager for this — his wife and their newborn daughter are currently staying in Los Angeles. Milwaukee at Toronto, Sunday (next Monday, PHL time): A matchup of two of the East’s best teams, and it’s never too early to think about positioning. HISTORIC WARRIORS Not even two months into the season, and the Golden State Warriors have already done something that no team in more than 50 years has accomplished. The Warriors are the second team in NBA history, joining the 1961-62 Los Angeles Lakers, to have three different players with a 50-point game in the same regular season. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have reached 50 already this season. The 1961-62 Lakers’ trio to do so: Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Rudy LaRusso. Could Golden State get a fourth into the 50-point column? Who knows, but remember, DeMarcus Cousins — who hasn’t played yet this season — has a pair of 50-point games in on his career resume......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2018

UAAP Finals: Thirdy calls Kouame most gentle foreign student-athlete

Ange Kouame has been the subject of a new debate between fans of Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines. Two days since Game 1 of the UAAP 81 Finals, the Blue Eagles’ rookie reinforcement has still been the target of criticism in social media of Fighting Maroon fans who did not appreciate his supposed role in an incident with Bright Akhuetie. In the third quarter of Game 1 last Saturday, Kouame and Akhuetie got into contact with one another and the latter fell to the floor, clutching his left knee. Akhuetie had to be stretchered out of the court and into the locker room, but ultimately returned to the court. Kouame, meanwhile, became the recipient of resounding boos from the maroon and white crowd for the remainder of the game. Afterwards, Ateneo’s Ivorian tower only admitted that the boos got to him. He also made it a point to clear, however, that what happened was an unfortunate incident and was, by no means, intentional on his part. Thirdy Ravena shared the same sentiment while also vouching for his 6-foot-10 teammate. As he put it, “It was an accident. Knowing Ange, he’s probably the most gentle (foreign student-athlete). ‘Di naman siya pupunta sa game na mananakit.” He then continued, “It happens in basketball, may nasasaktan, may nahuhulog, but yung kay Ange, hindi naman niya sinasadya. It was just part of the game.” For his part, Blue Eagles mentor Tab Baldwin said he wasn’t worrying about what happened between Kouame and Akhuetie. Asked about it, specifically what the replay reviews showed, he answered, dry as always, “I didn’t even look at it. It didn’t matter to me. I don’t live in video replays. What matters to me is what the referees call.” He then continued, “If I see it, I’ll comment to the referees. If I don’t see it, I’m not gonna comment.” According to Coach Tab, what matters most is that Akhuetie’s injury is not as bad as it seemed to be. “I felt bad for Bright. It looked like a serious injury so I’m happy it wasn’t,” he said. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 3rd, 2018

2019 SEA Games countdown begins

ANGELES CITY, Pampanga --- The one-year countdown for the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games began Friday night at the Bayanihan Park here. Sports officials from 11 countries in the region headed by Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, Philippine Sports Commission head Butch Ramirez and PHI SEA Games Organizing Committee chairman Alan Peter Cayetano spearheaded the colorful ceremony as they launched the countdown clock situated in the middle of the huge structure of the biennial meet’s official logo. The event also launched the official theme of the Games ‘We win as One’ with the hashtag #2019SEAGames. Delegates from the participating nations also checked the Games venues including the main hub New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac where the medal-rich sports athletics and swimming are to be held. “After the countdown clock we have 365 days to go so ang ating athletes ay train, train train. Ang atin pong SEA Games organizers ay build, build, build, and then tayo naman ang trabaho natin is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Medyo mahirap na trabaho pero exciting times for Philippine sports and our athletes,” said Cayetano. A total of 56 sports – the most in history - are to be played in the 30th edition of the Games. The country’s fourth hosting of the event since 1981, 1991 and in 2005, where the country became the overall champion.             --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 30th, 2018

ONE Championship: The Machine to Master Mentor - Team Lakay s Mark Sangiao has no regrets in exchanging fighting for coaching

During the post-fight press conference for ONE: Conquest of Champions last Friday, Novemeber 23rd at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao was asked a pretty interesting question.  "Coach, you sacrificed your professional fighting career para makapag-focus sa mga katulad ni Eduard [Folayang]. Ngayon na nakikita niyo yung mga world title na nasa lamesa. Do you think worth it yung pag-give up [ng fighting career?]"  Sangiao had just coached one of his closest wards in Eduard Folayang back to the ONE Lightweight World Championship. Before that, Sangiao spent much of his 2018 coaching three other Team Lakay stars in Geje Eustaquio, Joshua Pacio, and Kevin Belingon into their own world championship runs.  All four of the champions were present during the press conference, and their big gold belts provided enough gleam to light up the whole press room.  So for Sangiao, his response was quick and simple, and likely very easy.   "Nakikita ko lang yung mga belt dito, worth it na. Feeling ko champion na din ako," he said with a gigantic smile, as the four ONE Championship world titles sat in front of him.  Prior to becoming Team Lakay's master mentor and a Coach of the Year awardee, Mark "The Machine" Sangiao was one hell of a fighter.  A former Philippine Team member and medalist in Wushu, Sangiao transitioned into MMA and was one of the stars of the early days of the URCC.  The Baguio native went 7-2 in his career, with all but one of his victories coming via stoppage. His last fight was in 2009, and it was around that time that other Team Lakay stars like Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, and Honorio Banario were getting their own careers off the ground.  The decision to leave the fight game as a competitor and put his attention to coaching full time, Sangiao says, was made in 2010, and it was in the presence of his Team Lakay wards.  "Napag-desisyunan ko ‘to, eight years ago, 2010. And they were there nung nagdesisyon ako, tinatanong ko din sila. ‘Desisyon mo ‘yan’, yun yung sabi nila."  Now, eight years later, Sangiao has coached six world champions and has helped transform Team Lakay into one of, if not the best mixed martial arts teams in all of Asia.  This success, the 38-year old Sangiao adds, has made his sacrifice even more worth while.  "Positive naman akong tao, walang pinag-sisisihan, and I’m very happy with the result of my decision." With four of ONE Championship's eleven MMA world championships residing in Team Lakay, it's not really surprising that Coach Mark is at peace with his decision. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018